Friday, 22 January 2016

Great ways to learn English: Duolingo

If you haven't already downloaded Duolingo, then I hope by the end of this article you will seriously consider it! I'm going to write a review and a little story on why I think Duolingo is a great tool for language learners. (notice here I say language learners, not just English language learners as you can use it to learn different languages if you wish).

I will give you an honest review. First this app is FREE.. that's right, free!!! So if you don't like it, you haven't spent a single penny, real, dime or whatever currency you use.

Duolingo helps language learners learn their new language with a series of games and interactive activities to improve their knowledge of the language. I even used this app when I first came to Brazil to help improve my vocabulary and also give me a little more knowledge of the grammar. I can now communicate reasonably well in Portuguese, although coming to Belo Horizonte provided me with a new and unique challenge, something I will talk about in another post. Yes, like everyone reading this article, I was and am still a language learner. I completely empathise with the problems and successes you have felt and while most wish to learn English, my goal was Portuguese.

Ok, back to Duolingo. I have a 5 year old God daughter who uses this app to improve her French and I know a 90 year old Brazilian Doctor and his wife (one of the loveliest couples I've met) who use this to improve English, proving that you're never too old to learn a language and that the games, which include picture matching, listening, writing and pronunciation, suit 'children' of all ages. 

Here someone is learning French

I met a Spanish girl, who the sister of my student, who hated learning English (something I put down more to lack of motivation and fear than actual dislike). She had been in the UK for two years and could barely compose a sentence. I introduced her to this app and she enjoyed it so much that she went on to study in a school.

Why would I need a school? Well to be honest Duolingo has its limitations: for one it can't answer your questions or know exactly what you need to improve like a teacher can. It doesn't explain the rules of grammar or give you as many options as it could. It is also not available in all languages, which means that some nationalities are unable to use this site/app (however, they are increasing all the time) and, sadly, it only seems to give you the option of learning American English. (This shows how much I love this app when I am promoting a tool which doesn't work with my form of English hahaha)

The reason I recommend this app, is simply cause it can expand your vocabulary (both for beginners and advanced students) while being a fun way to improve some grammar. This is what it's good for and especially if you're a beginner it will save you money and help you get an entry into the language so that when you do go for classes you will have some knowledge. So use it to boost your vocabulary, but don't expect it to replace a teacher :) 

So download it on your smart phone, tablet or laptop today and let me know what you think. It's free so you're not going to lose anything and you might just enjoy it and learn something ;). Let me know what you think on the comments below.

Enjoy your life!


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